D R A F T
(to be approved at the Annual Parish Meeting Monday 28 April 2014)
- Rob Morgan (Chairman)
- Bridgette Crundwell (Vice Chairman)
- Laurence Mellor
- Philippa Carter
- Sandie Timms
- Rodney Rose (County Councillor)
Responsible Financial Officer:
- Stuart Fox
- Angela Barnes
Members of the public:
- Simon Gidman (Tiddy Hall)
- Richard Squires (Village Shop)
- Keith Ravenhill, Elaine Byles
- Mark Pidgeon
- Sally Walker (Pre-school)
Apologies were received from DCllr Hilary Hibbert-Biles.
The minutes of the Annual Meeting held on Monday 30 April 2012 were agreed, dated, signed and filed.
3. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
This is my third annual report as Chairman of the Parish Council. The Parish Council has met eleven times during the year and has prepared the necessary Risk Assessments.
There have been a couple of notable successes during the year. The drainage problem on London Lane has been solved and the footway snow clearance has worked well. The plaque at the entrance to the sports ground was refurbished prior to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Work on the Network Rail land opposite Sunset House is continuing. I am sure that you will have fuller information on the snow clearance and the Helpers of Ascott later during the evening.
We have considered fourteen Planning Applications during the year and only one of them has gone to appeal. All the others have been granted.
As agreed last year the lights on the Christmas tree were left on permanently during the Christmas period. The Carols round the Christmas tree were cancelled and I apologise once again for the short notice of the cancellation.
The annual litter pick which should have taken place in January was cancelled due to bad weather and was re-scheduled for 16 March. Despite bad weather on this day the litter pick went ahead with a few hardy volunteers and a surprisingly large volume of litter was collected.
One problem which is on-going within the village is the amount of dog mess which is being deposited. It is my impression that there is an increase in the dog population of Ascott but the amount of dog mess being left is still disproportionately large. I must remind villagers that it is an offence not to remove any dog mess and put it in the bins provided. It is always the few who spoil it for the many.
Bus services serving the village came in to question with complaints about erratic services and buses driving around The Green and Church View causing damage to the verges. A meeting was held with the County Council Bus Services Manager and since then the service has improved. If villagers spot any buses travelling along The Green or Church View I would be grateful if you could bring it the matter to our attention so that we can nip the problem in the bud.
The Parish Council has received a complaint about vehicles travelling at excessive speed along Shipton Road and this is being pursued with the police.
I would like to record my thanks to Councillor Pauline Marshall for her work on the Parish Council and for representing the Parish Council on the Ascott Village Charity committee. Councillor Marshall resigned in March due to other commitments.
My thanks are also extended to my fellow councillors, our Parish Clerk and our Responsible Finance Officer. I would also like to thank the villagers for their co-operation, assistance in pointing out things that needed doing and for their patience when it has taken longer to do than they would wish. My thanks are also extended to County Councillor Rodney Rose and District Councillor Mrs Hilary Hibbert-Biles who have attended most of the Parish Council meetings and who have helped to get things done at County and District level respectively.
4. PARISH FINANCIAL REPORT
The accounts for the Parish have been prepare in a slightly different format this year in order to reflect the various projects for which grants have been received or are expected in the future and to show how that money has been spent or carried forward to meet future Parish plans.
The four major divisions are:
The snow clearance fund. A grant totalling £8,625 was received in the previous financial year and of this £4,100 was unspent at the start of the current year. The Parish added a further £3,000 from its general funds and spent £5,195 on further equipment, tools, a store shed and the costs of maintaining and operating the snow clearing equipment.
There is a balance of £1,979 left at the end of the year which will be carried forward to deal with future snow clearance cost and equipment maintenance.
The railway station fund. We have received a total of £3,000 in grants. £2,000 last year and £1,000 in the current year, to be used to improve the environment of the station and its surroundings. At the start of the current financial year we brought forward £337 that had not been spent and during the year spent a further £147. After adding this year’s grant this leaves a balance of £1,190 to be carried forward to allow for further work to be completed.
The playground fund. Within this fund the Council are building up a reserve, which will be added to by holding events and seeking external grants, in order to improve or add to the range of play equipment in the recreation ground. The income this year totalled £3,529 and comprised of external grants £2,000, the Jubilee lunch £1,404 and a donation of £125. There was no expenditure. We are carrying forward £3,764 towards future expenditure.
The general fund. This includes the remainder of the Parish’s normal business, including the clerk’s salary, expenses and office costs (£3,390), maintaining the playing field and grass verges and buying picnic benches (£4,287), repairing and replacing equipment (£171) and various donations and a grant to the Ascott Grape Vine. Donations made include the Wychwood Day Centre £286 and printing costs for the Jubilee programme £333. The main sources of income were the precept £14,550, fees from OCC for maintaining the verges £1,030 and allotment rents £165. This year’s precept increased from £10,875 to £14,550 and this provided sufficient funds to allow the £3,000 transfer to the snow fund. The general fund had a surplus of £1,733 this year and a cumulative surplus of £9,277 carried forward. Cash in the bank increased from £10,560 at the last year end to £14,607 at the close of the current financial year.
5. PARISH CONTINGENCY PLAN
Cllr Carter reported – the past 12 months have been exceptionally wet. Despite this, the river Evenlode burst its banks on very few occasions given the amount of rainfall and the saturation levels of the ground.
Our Community Emergency Plan was set in motion on 4 occasions – these gave us the opportunity to test and improve our systems and equipment. Sandbags were filled by many willing volunteers and residents vulnerable to river flooding were checked on regularly. No property was flooded by river water. All existing Emergency Plans were surveyed by OCC in the Autumn.
An ongoing concern is traffic driving around the Z-bend at Ascott Earl when the road is flooded. Even the slowest of vehicles causes a bow wave which threatens the front door of cottages on the bend. We strongly request all drivers to take note of the FLOOD signs and use an alternative route. This would be much appreciated by the residents.
The sandbin in Tiddy Hall car park is a padlocked WODC facility available for use by all local communities. It is promptly re-supplied when stocks are reported low by Parish Councillors. To access the contents contact a Parish Councillor at any time or the Pre-School leaders at Tiddy Hall during weekday mornings. The Parish Council owns a water pump which has been in use and serviced this year. It is available for use by residents for any flooding issue, large or small.
Parishioners concerned about river flooding are often registered with the Environment Agency to receive warnings. These warnings often bear no resemblance to what we actually see and the information which is much more useful is the river level readings which are posted on the EA website. With readings at Evenlode and Shipton it is possible to understand how the river is rising and falling and this stops residents worrying every time the EA sends out a Flood Warning for the general area.
The EA have re-modelled their Flood Plan and this was posted on their website in November 2012. Anyone wishing to receive a detailed report for their individual property should request a document called a ‘Product 4’. Discussions with the EA and landowners about keeping the channel clear resulted in an EA team cutting vegetation down in the autumn. The Fisheries department have been negotiating with the resident of Langley Mill to improve access for fish swimming between Shipton and Ascott.
A small residual amount of flood funds is being held by the Village Charity and we would like this to remain until an issue arises which cannot be tackled and paid for by the relevant organisation, landowner or volunteers.
The past year has been a real test. There will always be maintenance issues and improvements needed for the drainage systems in the village and the Parish Council work continually to monitor and negotiate these. However, we do feel that a substantial improvement has been made since 2008.
Cllr Mellor reported that following our successful bid to the Big Society Fund, the Parish Council has further enhanced our ability to respond to severe winter weather by purchasing several items of equipment. This includes a motorised pedestrian operated snow plough which also has an interchangeable brush attachment for snow clearing. Not surprisingly this has proved very popular with our volunteers who have been eager to show off their driving skills.
We also have 2 walk along grit spreaders for use on pavements following on from the snow plough. There has been some teething problems caused in the main by these machines not being able to cope with wet or lumpy grit. In readiness for next winter a source of pre-packed granular salt has been identified and this will be used in future. Although slightly more expensive this will ensure the machines are more easily operated and help to reduce long term maintenance costs. Other purchases include a store shed, security items, snow clearing shovels and various items of personal protective equipment.
The village plan includes daily notification from OCC’s Severe Weather Manager Mr Paul Wilson via email to Rob Morgan and myself which sets out predicted weather patterns and indicates action to be taken by OCC i.e. snow plough deployment or salt spreading. We are grateful to Paul Wilson and his team for their help and support.
The Parish Council is especially grateful to Chris Badger, Crown Farm for his continued support in providing a tractor for snow clearing, storage of bulk equipment and for providing back up drivers when needed. Once again David Cooke and Robin Walker have also been available for driving duties and our volunteer group never fail to make themselves available.
6. ASCOTT- UNDER- WYCHWOOD SPORTS CLUB
The main focus of the Sports Club continues to be its football team who play in the Witney and District League under the banner of Wychwood Foresters. So far this season they have won 11 of their 20 fixtures and look set for a mid table finish. Sadly, only 2 of their players live in the village and it would be good to see more support for them both on and off the pitch.
This summer we will once again be providing a Volley Ball net and hope through better marketing to see players of all abilities making use of the option. Pitch marking and the availability of suitable balls on site is something we hope to provide.
Following a Fire Safety Inspection we have continued to address areas of concern. Emergency exit provision has been significantly enhanced by the provision of a concrete ramp outside the rear emergency exit through the kitchen door. Over hanging trees and rampant nettles have been cut back to further enhance access should it be necessary.
Finally, my thanks to Cllr Philippa Carter for all her hard work dealing with accounts and bookings and to Mary Barnes for not only cleaning the pavilion but doing so much more as well.
These continue to prove popular with all available plots occupied and a waiting list should there be a vacancy.
8. HELPERS OF ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD
The Helpers have been concentrating their efforts on improvements at the Station, in the Playground and around the Pavilion. Many volunteers have given their time during organised sessions as well as at other times and I would like to formally show our immense appreciation for all their very hard work.
Users of the playground, recreation ground and pavilion have greatly appreciated the maintenance work undertaken there and, as most people are aware, the Parish Council are planning more improvements. These would be outside the re-mit of the Helpers and would require funds through events and grant funding.
Permanent planting at the station did not take place in the spring as hoped because of delay to funding from Network Rail for the retaining wall. Shrubs and perennials are being planted now and these are paid for by funds raised by the Gardens Open weekend in summer 2011. Yvette Keauffling organised this event and requested that the funds be used for planting schemes around the village. Many thanks must be recorded to Tyacks for their donation of topsoil and Louise Woods for her donation of manure.
The Parish Council holds further funding for Station Enhancement given by First Great Western and the Cotswold Line Promotion Group. This will support the installation and planting of troughs in front of the station walls, improvements to the bank opposite the Signal Box and planting of tubs on the platforms.
9. MR RODNEY ROSE – COUNTY COUNCILLORS REPORT
I have been honoured over the last year to have been the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, while still retaining the Highways and Transport Portfolio. I have also been responsible for flooding, including the Oxfordshire Member on the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. Some aspects of OCC property, HR relations and internal management of the Council have also been in my portfolio, plus deputising for the Leader when required. Strategic transport has also been part of my wider role. The Cogges Link Road was not favoured by the DfT Inspector, and this prevented any land acquisition to allow building the road. It was, therefore, cancelled. We have since put in place a plan for Witney to solve some of the problems. This will start in the very near future with an improved Ducklington Lane/Station Lane junction, soon to be followed by a Downs Road link to the A40. Shores Green and Bridge St improvements will then follow. This plan is backed by the District Council. I guess I should mention road maintenance, and I am sure we all have some knowledge of the state of our roads – an extra £3.55M has just been added to our spend , and we are having a real look at how else we can deal with this problem. Finally on County matters, you will probably be aware that the County Council portion of your local tax has gone up by 1.99%, which equates to about £23 at band D. We did oppose the requested “Cameron” freeze” increase, as it left local things such as subsidies to bus routes and local libraries at risk. We have not closed any libraries, and do not intend to do so. I would also not wish to see any cuts in our bus provision.
Over the year, however, I hope I have not neglected the local Divisional responsibilities that are expected of a local Member. Flooding and Highways issues have always been at the forefront, and I have done what I could to help. London Lane has had some improvement, and investigations started today for some drainage improvements to the Green during the summer.
Work will also be done on drainage between the railway and the river bridge. With a local Member budget, it has been possible to grant aid £2000 to your playground, and I have also given £1000 to the Wychwood Day Centre, grants which should both be of local benefit. Some improvements will be happening to local flood improvement measures over the coming months, and more will be fought for from the regional pot of money.
I would finish by congratulating your Parish Council on the work that they do. The snow clearance I am now quoting to many other Parishes as an example of how it should be done, and OCC does not get an easy ride if things should be done in your village.
10. MRS HILARY HIBBERT-BILES DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORT
No report , apologies received.
11. ORGANISATIONS REPORT
Chipping Norton Police
No report received
Cold Stone Angling
Pete Moss reported that this season for the club has been once again very successful both on the fishing front and fund raising, considering the amount of rain we have witnessed the fishing has been very good apart from the river which we have only fished twice.
The club’s lake has been very good with good weights on competitions, also the other still waters and canal have fished very well, this season we recorded two club records, first the heaviest weight of fish weighed in on a competition was recorded at Clattercote reservoir (near Banbury) with a weight of 144lbs of carp and the second record was a chub of 6lbs 8oz caught at Radcot on the River Thames.
On fundraising we held our annual race night which was once again very well attended and the Club made a an excellent profit of £1,393.00.
The membership showed a small increase last season which was good to see, some items of work were undertaken with a new bridge being put across the stream into the lake field. We installed a lifebelt at the lake and had to purchase a new strimmer/brush cutter mainly for work at the lake.
Lastly the Club won the Inter Club competition fished by ten members from each side, with teams representing Charlbury Angling Club, Chipping Norton Angling Club and Coldstone.
Ascott Pre-school has had another busy year with numbers continuing to be high, children coming from Ascott and surrounding villages giving a total of 46 children on roll. We aim to give priority to those in the village itself and those who have had siblings in Pre-school. We have a strong management committee run by parents who help to ensure the smooth running of Pre-school.
Staffing has remained the same – 7 contracted staff and 2 supply with additional back up from Leafield Pre-school when needed. Links with Leafield have continued -sharing staff, knowledge and resources.
The children have experienced a wide range of themes during the year including people who help us, traditional stories and rhymes, colours, animals and their babies, festivals, seasons, harvest, holidays, music, lifecycles, transport and around the world in a week.
Forest School continues to flourish and we currently have 2 groups of our older children carrying various activities at Bruern Woods by kind permission of the Astor family. The children have been out in all weathers and come back extremely muddy. This winter has been particularly cold but we have managed to continue every week with a few more layers of clothes and some extra hot chocolate.
Cookery Club runs weekly for groups of 4 children and have cooked a variety of things during the last year including pasta bake, fish pie, pizza, apple crumble, bread, banana toffee pudding, muffins and chicken nuggets.
Little Dancers also runs weekly and is led by Dancing Sally. A lively music and dance session with a different theme each week.
We have had various fundraising events during the last year including a Frock Swap, Film night, Autumn craft morning, Come and Sing at Shipton Church, train trip to Moreton in Marsh, Easter activity day, Christmas concert, summer barbeque and sports day. Much money has been raised and together with a lottery grant of £9999 we have been able to refurbish the play area and have a new safety surface laid which was opened by David Cameron in the Easter holidays.
The toddler group continues to run in the cricket pavilion and has changed to a Monday morning and has had the recent addition of mums who are trying to improve attendance by having extra activities such as face painting, drama and crafts. We hope this will prevent us from having to close a very poorly attended but much needed group.
As you may know I have taken over temporary chairmanship of the Tiddy Hall committee in Roger Shepherd’s absence and it was about this time last year that the main celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Tiddy Hall began. It has been a very busy year – to say the least- and most of the fund raising that has taken place over the past 12 months has been directed at the future upgrading of the kitchen.
In many ways the festivities started with our weekend on June 1st and 2nd with two consecutive days of entertainment. Day one ,the Friday, was a celebration of the many activities that would have been enjoyed by Reginald Tiddy himself ; with Morris Dancers from the Eynsham and Charlbury sides dancing and singing in their own inimitable styles, a Mummers play performed by some of the dancers from the Charlbury side, and local singers joining in . It was marvellous to see a very old tradition and something that is historically part of Ascott under Wychwood being performed again in the village hall. We were also very lucky to have Mr Nick Salaman – who came all the way up from London to speak so eloquently about Reginald Tiddy.
The second day was slightly more conventional but no less enjoyable with the band Brio performing a Ceilidh. It would take a long time to express thanks to all those that helped over that weekend though I would like to put on record the committee’s thanks to Roger and Ros Shepherd and Daphne Abe for putting on such a great couple of days .
We have continued with our Flix in the Stix programme and had a sell out for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last year and on Friday we are showing Les Miserables, which we hope will be equally well supported. Again we have had good support in the various activities of the hall, the folk nights organised by Lyn and Tony Collins, Elaine Byles, Mark Pidgeon and Dave Henday, the table top sale organised by Ingrid Ridley,life drawing classes and of course the magical pantomime at Christmas time. I suppose the only minor disappointment of the year has been the cancellation of the Quiz night.
We are also very grateful to the regular users of the hall ,the Ascott under Wychwood preschool, Roseneath School of music, Windrush Valley School, Circuit training, the post office and the regular annual events such as the Race night, the Anniversary dinner/ dance, Robin Martin Oliver’s music workshops and yoga, which will be starting up again for the summer holidays.
We have also had a number of cultural events ; a memorable piano concert given by David Ridley, we heard Will Bujega singing beautifully last Sunday and some wonderful solo and duet performers at the Ascott Songsters recent concert.
One of the final acts of last years celebrations was the erection of a Blue Plaque in honour of Reginald Tiddy outside the hall on Saturday Sept. 8th . We had the chancellor of Trinity College and Mike Heaney here and it was a fitting tribute that the inscription of the plaque reads “Reginald Tiddy .Collector of plays ,Benefactor and Resident of this village”. This seemed a most appropriate conclusion to our celebrations.
Finally I mentioned at the outset that the aim of this years festivities -in terms of fund raising – was the proposed upgrading of our kitchen and I would just like to put on record the thanks of the Tiddy Hall committee to the Parish Council for their grant support ; without this support we would not be able to obtain grants from other bodies and the kitchen would not be upgraded as we would like . Most of the grant applications are now in and if things go according to plan we hope to be able to unveil a new kitchen later this summer .
Parochial Church Council
The Parochial Church Council has met 9 times during 2012, including 4 joint meetings of the PCCs of the Benefice meeting in Chadlington School.
During 2012, over half of the meetings of the Parochial Church Council were held in association with Joint Meetings of all PCCs of the Chase Benefice on an experimental basis. The idea behind this was to give a chance for all PCCs to engage with the mission of the Church within the Benefice and how we might work together to further common aims and objectives. Business specific to the parish was dealt with after the Joint Meetings. There were also meetings on four occasions to deal specifically with Ascott-under-Wychwood parish affairs.
Much time was spent in considering the state of the Church’s finances and in particular how we might begin to address the persistent deficit between income and expenditure.
The monthly Coffee Mornings continued throughout the year organised and run by Anne Braithwaite and June Holmes. These events provided an important opportunity for people to gather and enjoy conversation over coffee. Together with a Christmas Bazaar these events raised over £1,230 and the PCC records its thanks for the commitment and hard work put in to making these events possible.
2012 was the first year for many that there was not a Church Fete held in the Village. In its place, a group of volunteers organised a very successful and enjoyable Open Garden event at Wychwood Manor, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Wilmott-Stitwell, combining it with the first ‘Great Ascott Bake-off’ Competition. Despite extremely wet conditions a large number of people supported this event bringing a total of £2,500 into the Church funds. Again, we are grateful for all those who organised this enjoyable event.
Another new venture in 2012 was ‘The Trinity Arms’ when the Church was transformed into a Pub for two evenings – the first in July and the second in October. As with the Coffee Mornings it was hoped that these events would provide occasions to build community and get people ‘over the door’. Those who attended deemed both evenings a great success and the first evening attracted over 100 visitors! However, it has to be recorded that some in the village and indeed on the PCC were not as supportive. Although not conceived as a fundraising activity these evenings made £250 towards Church funds.
During the year the PCC has reviewed the Safeguarding policy and are confident that the all the necessary procedures are in place to protect children and vulnerable adults within our Church. Julie Benson of Chadlington is the Child Protection Officer for the Benefice.
There was a special Benefice Service of Thanksgiving in Chadlington on 3rd June 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. As regards regular Sunday services, there was no change in the Benefice programme during 2012: a 10 o’clock Communion Service (Common Worship) was held in Holy Trinity Church on the second Sunday of each month and an 8 o’clock Communion Service (BCP) on the fourth Sunday. We also celebrated major festivals, including our Patronal Festival on Trinity Sunday as well as services at Easter and Christmas.
Members of the PCC and congregation attended a series of Lent Suppers in Spelsbury Memorial Hall, and in Advent a series of four talks by distinguished speakers from Oxford.
Occasional Services in 2012 totalled 4: 2 funerals and 2 wedding. We are pleased that The Windrush Valley School continue to use the Church for their weekly assemblies and also the Ascott Pre-School for occasional visits.
The PCC very much appreciated the extremely valuable work of Fred Russell, Tim Lyon and others in maintaining the churchyard in good order, the providers of flowers in the Church organised by Debra Cull, and the helpers and stallholders at the Open Garden, coffee mornings and other Church events. The PCC would also like to thank the bell-ringers, led by Stuart Fox, the organist, Rosamund Campbell; our reserve organist, Roland Stedeford; Mary Fieth and Joan Pratley for their work as sacristans and Mary Barnes who cleans the church.
In closing, it is important to acknowledge that 2012 was not an easy year in the life of the PCC. There was also considerable energy given to how we might work more effectively as a PCC. Sadly, in December two members of the PCC resigned – our Secretary Clive Fieth, and June Holmes – as did our Churchwarden Anne Braithwaite. We wish to record our thanks for all that they have given to our common life: especially Anne Braithwaite who has worked tirelessly for many years and who is sorely missed.
Thanks were extended to the Parish Council for their continued financial support of £400. This helps with the publishing and delivery of the Ascott Grapevine to the Village free of charge. Thanks were recorded to Maggie Lyon for her hard work and who is retiring. Fortunately a replacement has been found – Keith Ravenhill. Finally there was a request to everybody to keep the articles coming.
Leafield C of E School
No report received
The Village Shop
After recent good years 2012 has seen sales fall ~5% £151k. Although average spend increased this was more than offset by a reduced footfall, the key issue to address. The profit on sales increased slightly, a result of product selection, good price and waste control. Overheads increased mainly due to higher staffing costs; replacement of back-office volunteer with paid staff, and employed cleaner. Overall a loss of £1.8k.
Our truly wonderful staff, a mix of c50 volunteers and 5 paid staff, are the linchpin of the shop, always offering a warm welcome and an enjoyable shopping experience for customers. 2012 proved a challenge to fill volunteer till shifts, repeated leaflets and Grapevine articles to attract more volunteers, had little success. The Committee very reluctantly decided to reduce trading hours from 4 March 2013, a combination of this lack of volunteers, trading patterns and to reduce costs. The whole shop team were consulted and a subsequent poster and flyer campaign, plus a Grapevine article, have brought forth several new volunteers. We have a small committee now only 4, Nigel Wild moved to France, efforts continue to increase this with a target of 6 post our June AGM.
At our 9th anniversary in November, we held a food and wine tasting, from which we introduced both new food and new wine items. During the year, La Parisienne became our bakery supplier. Their products are well liked and their patisserie is everything you would expect of a French bakery. We have also added a high quality takeaway hot drinks service. The bean to cup machine grinds fresh beans for each cup and also offers tea, hot chocolate and a delicious coffee/chocolate mix.
We are very fortunate to have such an attractive, purpose-built shop. Most community shops are located in village halls or similar. Over the past year, improvements have been carried out in the storeroom – new sink, water heater, separate handbasin, new work-surfaces, cupboards and a tough floor paint. Extra racking and a rail for dry cleaning have also been installed. We have contracts for all the refrigeration/cooling items, but breakdowns have proved expensive.
The shop continues to be a success and to be at the heart of the village, but we do need to improve trading and return to profitability. We are now half way through our tenth year and are planning anniversary celebrations to mark this milestone in our history. Trade is almost entirely with residents, supplemented by tradesmen working locally. We have to endeavour to increase our customer base within the village.
The Village Charity
This charity was originally set up for the relief of poverty in the village and to provide financial assistance to its young people towards their education. Its predecessors were known as the Poor’s Estate and as the Lower Green Charity.
The Trustees of the Charity meet regularly under the chairmanship of John Cull and throughout 2012 the Trustees were John Cull, the Revd Mark Abrey, Elaine Byles, Stuart Fox, Keith Ravenhill, Pauline Marshall (a member during the year of the Parish Council) and Mark Dawbarn (also Secretary to the Trustees). The Constitution of the Charity states that there must be at least five Trustees of whom at least one should be a member of the Parish Council.
The Charity owns the field known as Lower Green, which is near to the bridge over the river Evenlode on the Chipping Norton road. The field continues to be let to local residents on a 25-year lease for grazing purposes, expiring on 1st January 2030.
The purposes of the Charity include environmental projects, and works on restoring damage caused by local floods are seen as part of the Charity’s remit. The Trustees still have a limited amount of funds in hand that could be used for amenity purposes, including money raised for the purpose of flood prevention or for relief in appropriate cases.
In their educational activities The Trustees have continued to hold funds available in connection with their scheme for assisting young residents with grants towards the purchase of books or equipment for the purposes of their studies. They would like to find ways of ensuring that all eligible residents are aware of the Scheme and encouraged to apply.
The marquee purchased in 2008 for the benefit of the village use and which is available for local charities and fund-raising causes free of charge has continued to be used occasionally for these purposes. The Charity organised a Fun Run in October, raising £1203 (against a target of £1000), which was awarded to the Tiddy Hall. Of the amount raised £975 came from sponsors with local associations, which was greatly appreciated by the Trustees.
The Charity has paid out money which had been contributed in connection with the scheme for Planting Round the Village.
The Trustees have continued to seek to find ways in which their activities could be made widely known in the village that the Charity is set up to serve. Notices have been placed on village notice boards and an article written for the Ascott Grapevine. They would welcome suggestions on any other ways of achieving publicity for their activities and availability and would like to involve the community as far as possible in their work. To make the Charity more recognisable in the community the Trustees have developed a logo and strapline, as shown at the foot of this Report for use in notices and published items. The Trustees are grateful to Jonathan Woods for the consultancy services he has provided in the development of this item.
The Trustees are also grateful to Keith Ravenhill for his work in organising the village pantomime, which raised £162 for the Charity.
The Trustees consider that the financial position of the Charity remains sound and they have three sources of funds, namely the General Fund, the Poor’s Fund and the Flood Relief Fund from which they can make grants to local causes. The amount available for expenditure by the Trustees as at 31st December 2012 was £4,600 and there were additional ring-fenced investments held by the Trustees.
The Chairman addressed the meeting and thanked everyone for attending the Village Meeting and asked if there was any other business. The meeting was concluded and closed at 8.30pm.